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published by the Physics Education Technology Project
In this interactive simulation, users explore the
interactions between a compass and a bar magnet and investigate characteristics of electromagnets. This resource was developed to help students build a foundation to understand electromagnetism and factors affecting magnetic field strength. It is appropriate for use in middle school and high school, and could also be adapted for use in college physics preparatory courses.

This resource is part of the PhET project (Physics Education Technology) a growing collection of simulations and curriculum support for teachers and learners of physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science.

See Related Items for a link to a standards-based lesson plan and elicitation questions developed specifically to accompany the "Magnets and Electromagnets" simulation.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electromagnetic Induction
= Induced Currents and Forces
= Motors and Generators
- Magnetic Fields and Forces
= Fields and Currents
= Force on Wires
= Interacting Magnets
= Magnetic Fields
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a GNU General Public License Version 2 license. Additional information is available.
Rights Holder:
PHET and University of Colorado
bar magnet, compass, electromagnet, electromagnet simulation, generator, magnetic field
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created December 2, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 18, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 1, 2010

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4G. Forces of Nature
  • 6-8: 4G/M3. Electric currents and magnets can exert a force on each other.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)


G. Forces of Nature
  • 4G (9-12) #5.  Magnetic forces are very closely related to electric forces and can be thought of as different aspects of a single electromagnetic force. Moving electric charges produce magnetic forces and moving magnets produce electric forces. The interplay of electric and magnetic forces is the basis for electric motors, generators, and many other modern technologies, including the production of electromagnetic waves.
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Record Link
AIP Format
, Version 1.02 (Physics Education Technology Project, Boulder, 2008), WWW Document, (https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/magnets-and-electromagnets).
PhET Simulation: Magnets and Electromagnets, , Version 1.02 (Physics Education Technology Project, Boulder, 2008), <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/magnets-and-electromagnets>.
APA Format
PhET Simulation: Magnets and Electromagnets. (2010, September 1). Retrieved February 22, 2017, from Physics Education Technology Project: https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/magnets-and-electromagnets
Chicago Format
Physics Education Technology Project. PhET Simulation: Magnets and Electromagnets. Boulder: Physics Education Technology Project, September 1, 2010. https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/magnets-and-electromagnets (accessed 22 February 2017).
MLA Format
PhET Simulation: Magnets and Electromagnets. Vers. 1.02. Boulder: Physics Education Technology Project, 2008. 1 Sep. 2010. 22 Feb. 2017 <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/magnets-and-electromagnets>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PhET Simulation: Magnets and Electromagnets}, Publisher = {Physics Education Technology Project}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {22 February 2017}, Month = {September 1, 2010}, Year = {2008} }
Refer Export Format

%T PhET Simulation: Magnets and Electromagnets
%D September 1, 2010
%I Physics Education Technology Project
%C Boulder
%U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/magnets-and-electromagnets
%O 1.02
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D September 1, 2010
%T PhET Simulation: Magnets and Electromagnets
%I Physics Education Technology Project
%V 2017
%N 22 February 2017
%7 1.02
%8 September 1, 2010
%9 application/java
%U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/magnets-and-electromagnets

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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PhET Simulation: Magnets and Electromagnets:

Accompanies PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Magnets-Introduction

This is a link to an inquiry-based lesson developed by PhET gold-star winner Trish Loeblein specifically to accompany the simulation Magnets and Electromagnets. Includes clicker questions and Power Point presentation on magnets.

relation by Caroline Hall

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